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Fbi 16, Cia 8, Grover Norquist 6, Karl Rove 5, Diane Finestein 5, Andrea Mitchell 4, Feinstein 4, Broadwell 4, Shinseki 3, Msnbc 3, Bush 3, Huffington 3, Wes Moore 3, Va 3, Joan 3, Levemir Flexpen 2, Paula Broadwell 2, Alex Wagner 2, Joan Walsh 2, Levemir 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    November 12, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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is right for you. an investigation with more questions than answers. it's monday, november 12th, and this is "now." hello. i'm ari melber in for alex wagner. joining me today, msnbc contributor, robert traynham, joan walsh of salon.com, author of "the other wes moore," retired army captain, wes moore, and nicholas kons skoir of "the new york times." david petraeus resigned as cia director on friday after reports of an extramarital affair and a host of questions remain about the investigation that toppled one of the country's top national security officials. lawmakers in both parties say the fbi failed in its duty to report on the secretive investigation earlier in the
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process. now, before we get into the debate, here are some of the key allegations and facts about this unusual investigation. first, several months ago, government officials tell nbc news that fbi investigators responded to a complaint about anonymous e-mails sent to jill kelly, a 37-year-old volunteer liaison to mcdill air force base in tampa. kelly and her husband were friends with petraeus and his wife. the fbi began by investigating whether those e-mails constituted harassment. officials told nbc news. then the bureau subsequently found that petraeus' biographer, paula broadwell, was sending those anonymous e-mails that law enforcement officials had dealt with. the investigation also determined she was having an affair with petraeus. the fbi then used that information from the investigation to uncover more details and obtain a warrant to surveil broadwell's e-mail, according to the "wall street journal." so, in september, officials say
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the fbi interviewed broadwell, who then admitted the affair. investigators also convinced her to voluntarily surrender her computer, which was found to contain unauthorized classified information. according to officials, on the week of october 28th, the fbi then interviewed general petraeus, who reportedly admitted the affair at the time, but denied providing any classified information to broadwell. then two members of congress say they received a tip about the same investigation in october which was raised with the fbi. officials say investigators interviewed broadwell again on november 2nd. that's key, because after that second interview, the bureau concluded there were no criminal security breaches and thus no charges to file. it was not until november 6th, election day, however, that the fbi informed james clapper, the director of national intelligence, who then set off a series of conversations that ultimately led to petraeus resigning.
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by november 11th, that's yesterday, sunday, the senate intelligence chair, senator diane finestein said her committee would investigate this entire issue, because she believes her committee should have been informed earlier in the process. new york republican peter king also had this to say. >> we received no advanced notice. it was like a lightning bolt. this is something that could have had an effect on national security. i think we should have been told. >> once the fbi realized it was investigating the director of the cia or the cia director had come within its focus or its scope, i believe at that time, they had an absolute obligation to tell the president. >> that was peter king and senator feinstein speaking about the issue. one official briefed on the investigation told bloomberg news that the election day downfall of the cia director reads more like a soap opera than a spy novel.
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joining the panel now as well is pulitzer prize winning senior military correspondent for the "huffington post," david wood. david, thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> absolutely. i want to start today with wes moore, however, who's here on set with us. you served as an army captain in iraq, under petraeus at the time. >> right. >> what do you make of this everything we've learned thus far? that was a lengthy timeline, but the key points there are, something started with anonymous e-mail tips, people didn't know exactly what was going on. it began as a criminal investigation. it had intelligence issues, because there was this concern about the classified information on her computer. but ultimately ended, as best we can tell from the sourcing we have, as a closed investigation without any criminal charges. >> that's the key thing, to point out as well. first, we look at the fact that we're observing veterans day today, and the lead story on every single network is this. talking about this issue, which is part of the larger problem. and i think also highlighting the larger challenge that
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general petraeus had coming into this. where he knew as this whole thing was going to unfold, two things he was very concerned about, one was his family and the impact on them, and also wh what then would be the impact on the agency and the impact on the country. i think he did, and general petraeus i think is a hero for so many young troopers. i think he did the right and honorable thing. but the key question come still comes down to, if an investigation was done and there were no criminal activities attached to this, at what point does this continue to rise up the chain of command? i think that's what's continuing to fall down. and i think these are legitimate questions that need to be asked as well. >> when you talk about the chain of command. david, now i want to bring you in. and we'll be talking about something you're reporting on, veterans day issues later in the show. but i want to put up the federal requirements under the law for reporting these kind of investigations. basically, if there's a significantly anticipated intelligence activity, the fbi
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or any intelligence agency is supposed to report that to the intelligence committee. that's what senator feinstein was talking about. but number two, it's important to keep in mind that an ongoing domestic criminal investigation is not usually reported, because it's about a domestic crime, not intelligence activity. do you think from what we know at this point that the fbi acted properly. >> ari, i'm astonished, flabbergasted that james clapper, who is the director of national intelligence, wasn't brought in on this right immediately. that position, the director of national intelligence, is the overall, the intelligence czar, if you will, over the cia, over the national security agency, and the 16 or 17 other u.s. intelligence agencies. he's the guy who should snow. and whether or not they had the case nailed down or not, he should have been advised, at least that there was an investigation and it involved the cia. >> joan, how about that? >> that sounds right to me. i mean, i don't know as much as david does, but that sounds
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right. i guess, you know, there are lots of questions about this wof obviously. and one of them is, in the middle, when supposedly, or a disgruntled or concerned fbi agent went to some house republican members, eric cantor, and got him involved. so there are -- it seems like there may have been, on the part of some people, some political considerations, which would really be awful. i think it's going to be a while before we get to the bottom of why was this important, how was it pursued? were the proper channels followed? and where are we now? >> let's look at that. congressman kantor, of course, did make a statement about this. he says he was contacted by an fbi employee, concerned that sensitive classified information may have been compromised. and thus he made certain that director mueller was aware of those serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security. is anything wrong with that, robert traynham? >> that's how the system is supposed to work. i want to go back to something about this whole timeline. it speaks to the ambiguity of
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the national cia director. i remember being in the senate when that position was being created. and a lot of republicans and democrats and even the white house was kind of confused as to what this role was, who this person should be, and thus, how does it interact with the cia. let's be very clear. my understanding of the law and my understanding of what happened was, is the reason why this was so serious is because, perhaps, and it doesn't seem like it happened, but perhaps with general petraeus allegedly having a mistress, he could have been compromised, he could have been vulnerable if it were blackmail. >> you're speaking to the issue o of whether him having these secrets would make him vulnerable. >> that's correct. >> whether there was information on the computer. >> that's correct. >> let's look at what jack goldsmith said about this. he's a very respected figure, a former counsel to the pentagon, a former assistant attorney general. and he said, basically, assuming the news reports are right, the fbi might have had a duty to report its month-along investigation, related to security breaches, concerning the cia director, quite a while
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ago. the fbi investigation might have been primarily a law enforcement matter, until very recently, and thus not subject to reporting requirements. though it seems like any investigation into security breaches of the cia director's computer system or communications by definition implicates counterintelligence. david, i want to go back to you. you're speaking about how it goes up the chain of command within the intelligence bureaus. but a separate question, under the law, if we're serious about the law, and the fbi is supposed to be, there's a separate question over, as soon as this moves from being a criminal harassment investigation to an intelligence one, whether senator feinstein and others, as they've said, should have been informed. >> well, i think, clearly, they should have, but look, there's something else going on here that i want to bring up. and that is, there's a dranlangs strain, i think, in this country, of idolizing generals, frankly, senior military people, and the military in general. and, you know, you see it when, you know, veterans are called heroes. they don't all feel they're
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heroes. and i think that may have been at work here, where the investigators realizing they had caught petraeus in a net, apparently, wanted to be really, really careful that they actually had him, that there was the evidence and that they knew enough about the case to bring it to the attention of their superiors. so i think that may have been at work here. we don't know, obviously, but in any event, i think that, as i said, at least the director of the national intelligence should have been informed, and the heads of the house and senate intelligence committees, of course, should have been alerted to this. >> yeah, it's kind of interesting. we have this kind of infatuation in the media elite with the idea of the warrior intellectual. i think a lot of journalists were close to the guy, thought very highly of him, and of course, people around him thought highly of him. there was a, you know, a kind of a halo around the guy. and probably well deserved in a lot of ways, but you kind of
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have to wonder, if you're in the fbi and investigating this, you can kind of imagine how hard it would be to wonder, are we investigating this guy fairly, and if so, what's our role? and the key question that catches me in that timeline is the classified information on broadwell's computer. once you see that, it kind of changes everything, especially given what you know about her relationship with the guy. >> and i think that's really important point. because people do understand the impression and the image that general petraeus has. and i'm in full agreement that this actually should have been brought up the chain of command quick perp something in the timeline does not make sense. however, general petraeus nor paula broadwell no longer fall under the uniform code of military justice, which would have been an automatic investigation into improprieties and actually violating the law. at what point did people think that a law was broken? once that line was crossed, then
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things take on a very different shape. >> but i think we also need to understand the context of, i believe what people were making these decisions. we're on the eve of a very tight presidential election, and they're probably very concerned about leaks, probably very concerned about someone's reputation. we're also talking about the cia director. so i would presume that a lot of these folks that were investigating this were extremely sensitive to all of those environmental factors, if you will, to make sure that they get it right. >> right. and i think the question in the congressional hearings will be, beyond the sensitivity, did they meet their obligations? it's significant that senator feinstein was a democrat who didn't have an ax to grind against the president is raising those timeline questions. we will continue on this story here on msnbc. after the break, in this show, president obama will be honoring u.s. servicemen and women on veterans day, saying we must do more to support them. we are going to take stock of what the country is doing right now for its troops when they return home. that's up next on "now." ♪
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after a decade of war, our heroes are coming home. and over the next few years, more than a million service members will transition back to civilian life. they'll take off their uniforms and take on a new and lasting role. they will be veterans. >> that was president obama, commemorating veterans day yesterday. the last 11 years have been brutal for the more than 2 million soldiers who fought in iraq and afghanistan. according to the pentagon, more than 6,400 american service members have been killed. more than 50,000 have returned home wounded. 1,500 of them without an arm or a leg. tens of thousands of soldiers
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are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. and in many cases, the trauma of war has become too unbearable for returning veterans. in fact, according to a recent report, more than 6,400 veterans kill themselves each year, which amounts to 18 every day. these statistics can get lost, especially as many here at home remain relatively immune to the challenges of war. during the world war ii era, for example, about 12% of americans had served in combat. today, according to the pew research center, that figure is under 1%. i'm going to bring back in david wood, a pulitzer prize-winning reporter for the "huffington post." you've been doing some reporting in this area, particularly with regard to overhauls, in our veterans department. tell us about that. >> you know, the va has a bad image. i'm not sure why that is. it's the gigantic department of veterans affairs. spends about $132 billion a
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year. takes care of about 22 million veterans. it's a gigantic organization. four years ago, eric shinseki took over, retired general, served two tours in vietnam, wounded both times. and he's interestingly applied some of the lessons of combat to managing the va. and i think with pretty impressive results. >> well, in some of your reporting, i want to touch on, you mentioned that four years ago, the population of homeless veterans was about 154,000. it has dropped now to roughly 65,000. and i want to read you, on the other hand, some criticism that's out there. this is by james nicholson, the former va secretary, of course, under president bush and thomas bowman, who worked in the same department. the ever-increasing claims backlog and resulting delays are destroying the trust that needs to exist between the va and veterans. without that trust, the department will cease to be our nation's main advocate for veterans care and well-being.
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that's not what the american people want, and of course our veterans deserve better. how do you sort of reconcile some of the, i think, positive breakthroughs that you report and that general shinseki has instituted with these complaints from people who clearly have our veterans in mind, and say that at least on the backlog issue, it's not up to snuff? >> it's, you know, it's absolutely a valid criticism. and i think everybody at the va would agree. and look, i'm not an apologist for the va. i think they make a lot of mistakes, they're way behind, it's a gigantic and often sleepy bureaucracy. but what i found, as i started to dig into what the secretary shinseki has done, was kind of interesting. the homeless issue is a perfect one. it also applies to that backlog thing. but what he did was he looked into it, drilled down into that issue, assembled all the experts and said, how do we get at this problem? this is intolerable. and they came up with an idea, which is called housing first. and briefly, up until now, what
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people working on the homeless population have tried to do is, you know, a lot of these people are drug addicts or alcohol addicts, have a lot of health problems. so the approach has been, let's try to fix these problems and then we'll move them into housing. what they came up with was, let's move them into housing first and we can wrap va services around them, whatever they need. >> right. >> so that was part of it. but the more interesting part was that secretary shinseki said, we are not just going to manage this problem. we're going to solve it. and we're going to solve it by 2015. and he told me, when he put that out there, there was a lot of wind being sucked through teeth. people going like, why are you saying that publicly? but not only are they saying it publicly, but they post a list of this and other goals they're working towards. publicly, you can go on their website. they're applying the same kind of strategy to the backlog problem.
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these are -- this is paper that veterans put in to get to claim pensions or compensation and a very, very complicated process. >> david, i thought that was an interesting part. because it not only goes to a vision of military efficacy, but also to transparency. i want to bring in wes. this idea that the veterans department can be both effective but also be accountable. we want it to succeed. most americans want it to succeed. but it has been criticized. we talk about homeless veterans. it's a significant problem in the country. you think about that on veterans day, when you see people on the street, and you say, how does this happen in this wealthy country, that as nick was saying earlier in the show, that definitely celebrates our warriors and military culture? i don't think there's any shortage of that. and yet on the policy side, we're leaving people behind. >> it's not even just that we want it to succeed. it has to succeed. when we ask over 2 million americans to go out there and
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fight for liberty and justice and all the other things that we are asked to fight for overseas, and to give them all the resources, to give us all the resources we need overseas, and when we come back home, to have a six and eight-month backlog to see a doctor, that is just completely unconscionable. and with all due respect, when i hear people say -- and in no way is this saying that the va is not working hard, there are some extraordinary people who work at the va who are trying to address these issues and who are putting together good initiatives. but the truth is, they are utterly overwhelmed. because no one expected these wars to last this long. no one expected for the type of damage that we're talking about with so many of our men and women who are coming back home. that's why you see so many of the veteran service organizations, team rubicon, et cetera, who are having to fill in these gabs, because the va on both the federal level and the state level is just utterly overwhelmed. >> how about that. joan, we don't have a lot of time, but we talk about world war ii. we have wars now that are lasting longer than world war ii. >> right. and people are coming home with
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very different injuries. and i think secretary shinseki is to be applauded, because he has actually -- embraced is the wrong work, but he's acknowledged the homeless problem. and he's acknowledged that for a long time there was a lot of fighting about ptsd. the head injuries that this combat created. and now they're acknowledging them and reckoning with them, but they don't have the money to pay for them or the services out there. it's a little of a catch 22. they will catch up eventually, i hope with political will, with but right now acknowledging the problem just floods the va with people who need services. >> so, david, i want to give you the last word from your reporting in this area. where is the va in terms of catching up to the very different foreign policy challenges and returning veterans challenges that we have today. >> ari, i'm going to pull a pivot. i don't want to talk about that. i want to talk about something else, which ties in both the petraeus story and veterans. >> well, we have a rule that if you want a pulitzer, you can
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completely ignore the host's questions. so you're fine today. >> fair enough. i forge on. the thing that struck me about the petraeus story is the damage that this puts on the troops and veterans. because, look, the military, for the last 10 or 15 years, has emphasized that it's a values-based organization, and the primary value that i hear talked about all the time, particularly in combat among what i call the working class of the military, the sergeants is and the lieutenants who do most of the heavy lifting in combat, the key value is doing the right thing when no one's looking. and there was nobody in the military, i think, who exemplified that more than david petraeus. he talked about it all the time. now to find out that he was not only not doing the right thing, but lying about it is, i think devastating, and will have a long-term corrosive impact on the troops who are, i mean,
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think about the young kids who were in basic training, how they're being taught, do the right thing when no one's looking. well, what are they supposed to look now? it's a really real big tragedy, i think. >> well, thank you for that. david wood gets the last word at the tou"the huffington post." we will be staying on this story. in fact, next hour andrea mitchell will have an interview with senator diane finestein, chair of the intelligence committee. coming up next, what did jim messina know and when did he know it? reports that he was within a handful of votes on predicting president obama's final vote count. while david plouffe had an electoral prediction on the nose. but m arepublicans didn't just e the race last week, many seemed to lose their bearings, predicting a 300-vote electoral landside. it excited the republican base and then left many dazed and confused. so now what happens now that the bubble has been burst by
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let's have a serious debate. don't scream and yell. you know what, it won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. it really won't, i don't think. i don't see why republicans don't take obama's offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000, make it $1 million. really? the republican party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted democratic and half of whom live in hollywood. >> that was republican strategist bill kristol yesterday urging republicans to give up the no taxes policy. he says he will win this debate with president obama. >> one of the reasons i don't get too worked up is, we've played this game of chess with the exact same people around the table, with the chessboard exactly the same as two years earlier. and we extend all the tax cuts two years. and obama started two years ago,
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huffing and puffing, the whole house of cards will come down and i'll blame you when i pull the trigger on the whole thing. no, you won't. >> so far, there are signals that some republicans could be splintering, including those who signed the page, including phenomenon senat tennessee senator bob corker. >> the yin and yang of this, we know there have to be revenues. i haven't met a wealthy republican or democrat in tennessee who are not willing to contribute more as long as they know we solve the problems. >> you've got to have ying with the yang. tom cole who serves on the house budget committee said this, "most members were just taught a lesson that you're not going to get everything you want. it was that kind of election." joan walsh, was it that kind of election? >> it was absolutely that kind of election. and i think the president has a kind of leverage he did not have in 2010. that was a bruising shellacking. if he does nothing, the tax cuts go away. we go back to the clinton tax rates, and he gets to come back, the democrats get to come back
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and say, please cut taxes for the middle class. that's a winning hand. the other thing you didn't play in grover norquist's comments about the election was the problem that mitt romney was a poopy head, he actually said that. >> that is deep. >> it gives me a lot to think about. but i really think that he's really slow in grappling with his new reality. it's not going to be easy for the president, but it's a new day. >> grover has a lot of interests in demonstrating the notion that we are in the exact same place, and he's historically accurate that obama did threaten this at one point and caved, preelection. but robert, let's remember that there is a larger battle going on. it is not just that the president does have a big mandate. he just ran and won on these plans. but also, even before that, the grover norquist wing of the party may be shrinking. look at what george bush senior said recently in an interview. "the circumstances change and you can't be wedded to some formula by grover norquist.
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it's -- who the hell is grover norquist anyway?" we can say that because we're quoting a former president. who is grover norquist and is he as powerful as he thinks about it? >> he is someone powerful. but at the end of the day, the american people smoke. we had this national conversation over the last 18 months about raising taxes. we're not raising taxes. that was a legitimate policy conversation in the public square. clearly, president obama won. sort of. and the reason why sort of. >> clearly, sort of. >> and here's why. obviously, the republicans still control the house. so there is a little bit of give and take here. so the question becomes is whether or not the president can support some type of entitlement reform, legitimate entitlement reform, and obviously, can speaker boehner raise revenues? maybe that's not raising taxes, per se, but perhaps raising revenue. let's go to president bush for a second, this is important. president bush 41. remember what he did in 1988? he said, read my lips, no new taxes. and then he sat down with then speaker of the house, whatever his name was, tom something, and
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he said, guess what, i was wrong back in 1988. we have to raise taxes and we also have to cut entitlement reform, because we're in a deep recession. and look what happened during the 1990s. we experienced the are largest and longest piece in our history. >> one difference here, i want to bring nick in, one big difference, we have a different base line because of the deals that have been made on taxes. grover says okay, but lets listen to what senator patty murray said about how this could go down in a different way. >> we can't accept an unfair deal that piles all of this on the middle class and tells them they have to support it. we have to make sure that the wealthiest americans pay their fair share. so, if the republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year, where all the tax cuts expire and we'll start over next year. >> so she thinks what?
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>> there is wealth protection lobby in washington. and he's part of norquist and it's powerful. but i think we're at a point in time where it might be a little bit out of step with its own constituents. i covered campaign finance last year. i spent the whole year talking to millionaires and billionaires. and i, too, on the other side of the aisle, did not talk to one, including david koch who said, sure, i could see some higher taxes on me in exchange for a bunch of compromise. the mathematical truth is, anti-tax republicans could come out of this with a super-sweet deal on spending, huge spending cuts for historically very small tax increases on a small number of americans. yet they want to do the deal. and that ultimately is going to be very good for their side. >> and a reminder, that's exactly what happened in 1991. that's exactly what happened. is that the republicans, they talked a very, very good game, but they walked out of the white house and also out of that deal with a pretty sweet deal. when you take a look at the overall mechanics. and the question becomes --
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>> let's go to joan. >> well, i don't know that there's a constituency for a very sweet deal that really slashes spending. we have been slashing spending. we're at the lowest levels of discretionary spending since dwight eisenhower. they have gotten their way and gotten their way. there are cuts to be made, but not a whole lot to cut. i would like to see the president let the tax cuts expire, deal with sequestration, make deals on that. maybe there'll be spending cuts. but to act -- it's very dangerous, to me, for democrats to be saying, let's tie these two things together for another grand bargain. >> and i think another important thing to remember is coming off the heels of this election, where we had the republican nominee being mitt romney, we had elements of the tax structure, elements of the tax code that were part of the conversation, that were never part of the conversation before. elements of capital gains tax. elements of, you know, of deductions and what all that means the american people are primed and ready for this conversation, particularly because we just spent the past 18 months talking exactly about this issue. >> i agree.
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and nick, one more point here that david frum raised, a republican voice, but a reformest republican voice, when he look broadly at the budget, we spend seven times as much on seniors and people 55 as we do on children and programs that are broadly considered more progressive. when you look at what happened last tuesday, people over 45 went for mitt romney by over six points. so one thing frum said is, what are we doing talking about decimating the programs that help our base and what are we doing constantly pretending that entitlements aren't for us? we benefit as much as anybody. >> i saw a second stat, which is that their percentage of the vote that were seniors was actually lower this time than it was in 2010. >> that's right. >> it goes to the point we're all making. circumstances have changed. the chessboard is not the same. and you can see a different kind of deal emerging. >> right. we're going to look in the next block at whether all the republicans agree on how much circumstances has changed. some republicans are urging karl rove and his people to step
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aside, so the party can recalibrate its approach to campaigning. we're going to see how the grand ole party fell behind, next.
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hello, mitt. >> hello, karl rove. >> i still think you can win ohio. look, now might not be the best time, but could i borrow $300 million? is that possible? i'm okay! >> karl rove got the "saturday night live" treatment this weekend, and last night the simpsons weighed in, mocking rove's ohio meltdown with bart writing on the famous opening chalkboard, "i will not conceive the election until karl rove gives me permission." look, this was not a good year for the republican mastermind, who inadvertently proved that money alone does not win elections. today's politico jonathan martin writes about what he calls the gop's media cocoon. writing that "many young republicans worry that they are the ones in the hermetically sealed bubble. a self-selected media universe in which only their own views
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are reinforced and an alternate reality is reflected. hence the initial denial and subsequent shock on the right that the country would not only reflect president barack obama, but do so with 332 electoral vo votes." so the problem wasn't too many ads or not enough ads. it was pouring money into a message that ultimately appeared to be out of sync with the majority of voters. joan, one of the problems here that people on the left and particularly in the blog sphere, which is more critical of the political class and more critical of some of the traditional media, the critique has been that republicans get to move the goal line, not only in negotiation, which might be good strategy, but in the factual underpinnings of our discussion. whether it's climate change where the science doesn't add up, or as we saw in the final couple of weeks of this debate, in the polling and math and the electoral votes and early votes
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and everything we could count showed an obama edge. but the republicans sort of did something tough to themselves. they really shocked and awed their own base, because they weren't ready for this. >> well, i think it's very interesting, because i go back to that interview, i think it was ron suskind did with a member of the bush team who told him, hey, you guys live in the reality-based community but we don't have to, and was bragging about the way that they were able to create their own reality and this was such a good thing for them politically. but it turned out not to be such a good thing for them politically. they've got fox news, they've got rush, they've got people that just reflect back what they want to believe. they don't believe polls. they think that with legitimate rape, a woman's reproductive system can shut the whole thing down. science denial, reproductive denial. they've got their own parallel reality and it really -- >> i'll go to nick on one point and back to robert. nick, as you know, you cover all of these guys and these donors. all the big players in the republican party. it would seem to me, when you look at the very important relationship between these
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millionaires and billionaires, and karl rove, who according to "saturday night live," needs a loan from mitt romney, it would seem that what you want from your political visionary, regardless of ideology is, yes, you want a good attitude. yes, you want to win. but kind of like seeing a doctor, you want your doctor to be positive and be on your side, but he or she better be able to read the charts, right? do you think donors are going to be upset with rove on that score? i think some donors are. but if i have to be honest, i think rove's fine. i think the majority of the people who were financing his operation, i mean, we don't have a great window into what he was telling them for the last year. but from what we do know, it sounds like he was briefing them. they had their polling. i don't think there was any evidence that his donors feel misled, that rove and his operation were spending the elite class of donors. and maybe for the broader world of republican operatives or voters who listen to rush or
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watch fox news, there was more of a surprise. i'm not sure -- i think they were unhappy. i don't think that they were, you know, angry or felt misled. >> let me agree with that. let me say two things. in response to joan here, not all republicans are monolithic. there were many republicans that came out and pushed back on the rape comments. there were many republicans that come out and believe that there is climate change -- >> not many. >> what you said is republicans in general, and that's not fair, and here's why. me being a black gay conservative, i'm not one of those who believe that the body can, quote/unquote, shut those things down. i believe in climate change. but i use the analogy, my parents were in the front seat of the car and were driving to grandma's house and we've got a new road here, they're using a 10-year-old map, they think they're right, they think they know where they're going, i'm sitting in my back with the gps system and i know that i'm right. it's almost like the obama folks had the gps system that was in
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realtime and the republicans had the old paper-based map. they both were looking at what they thought was right and was correct. in reality, obviously the numbers do not lie. the numbers suggest that president obama and his team clearly knew their numbers, clearly had their finger on the pulse, clearly knew where this country was going. ands it was either denial on the republicans' part, saying t ini it's not happening today, or looked at their own version of the facts. >> is karl rove in the car or in his own motorcycle? >> he's probably on the roof, tied down. >> joan? >> i also think they really don't understand -- at least in the presidential race, their likely voter model didn't work. and i don't know if that's because -- obviously, the obama team is smarter. they had a great turnout operation. but i think there was a backlash where votes were suppressed and people were angry. women were angry. >> i agree. >> wes, let me bring you in on
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that. >> in addition to that, i agree with the analogy that you have a 10-year-old map. and there was a 10-year-old structure as to how exactly voting and voter turnout works. because i think the way they were looking at, you know, well, this demographic normally does not come out. and the demographic doesn't come out on this portion. well, all of that was turned on its head. the brilliant thing that democrats did to get people on the ground, out. you look at the fact that the naacp in florida alone registered over 100,000 new voters. the whole map about who doesn't come out and who doesn't participate a has completely -- >> and the assumptions about obama. >> and the assumptions about that. and when it comes to money in this game, people have got to realize the republicans did not swamp obama. it didn't happen. this was not a campaign where one side had a massive financial advantage over the other. i did the math. when you look at the general election spending, the republican advantage in outside spending, super pacs and outside
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groups, was about $200 million by election day. that's not nothing, but less than 10% of the overall spending on the presidential election. they ultimately, because the democrats were coming in and the president basically joined the super pac game, there was plenty of money on the democratic side, and really it came down to other stuff, not who had more money. it was message and ground game and candidates and records. probably how it should be. >> it's a great point and there's an irony there, because we talk so much about money and politics at the presidential level, and it's exciting at that level, but the area where it matters the most are at the county and congressional races where you can really drown someone. but once you get saturated, $1 million on an ad doesn't go too far. >> over 1 million ads on the air. >> think about that. >> i think i got tired. i want to thank our esteemed panel. we are done here at "now." you can follow alex wagner at
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twitter @alexwagner and follow the show @nowwithalexwagner. up next, andrea mitchell with an exclusive interview with diane finestein. coming up next, fallout from the petraeus resignation. joining me, california senator diane finestein, chair of the select committee on intelligence. nbc's pete williams and kristen welker and "the washington post's" davis ignatius. also, what did grover norquist just say? and david fromme on why mitt romney lost. and we'll honor our veterans next right here on "andrea mitchell reports," only on msnbc. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. that was me... the day i learned i had to start insulin for my type 2 diabetes. me...
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